lamina emergent mechanisms, compliant mechanisms, compliant joints, tension, compression


This work introduces three joints to allow motion in lamina emergent mechanisms (LEMs) that were designed to have minimal parasitic motion under tension, compression, and a combination of tension and compression loading. Closed-form models of the joints were developed and combined with optimization algorithms for maximum flexibility in bending and then modeled using finite element analysis (FEA). The FEA results were used to predict the stiffness of the joints in bending, tension, and compression. As a baseline, lamina emergent torsional (LET) joints were designed to match the bending stiffness of each of the joints, so that the tensile-compressive performance could be compared. The joints demonstrate improved off-axis stiness in tensile and/or compressive stiffness, at the cost of limited bending flexibility compared to the LET joint and requiring more material area. The resulting joints provide a broad set of capabilities that can be used by designers in lamina emergent mechanism design.

Original Publication Citation

Wilding, S.E., Howell, L.L., Magleby, S.P., “Introduction of Planar Compliant Joints Designed for Compressive and Tensile Loading Conditions in Lamina Emergent Mechanisms,” Mechanism and Machine Theory, Vol. 56, pp. 1-15, DOI: 10.1016/j.mechmachtheory.2012.05.007, 2012.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

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Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Mechanical Engineering

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor